Taylor Hall bolsters Hart argument; Devils handle Habs


If you spend an unhealthy amount of time on Hockey Twitter, then the depth of reasonable Hart Trophy choices might be maddening. For the rest of us, it could be really fun to see how the race for the 2017-18 MVP shakes out during the next month or so.

We’ve seen Nathan MacKinnon roar into the discussion, especially with Nikita Kucherov sidelined. Earlier today, PHT’s Adam Gretz laid out arguments for Alex Ovechkin and Claude Giroux. For the most part, it’s a fun discussion.

With the race this tight, it never hurts to steal headlines, and that’s something Taylor Hall is doing on an almost nightly basis for the New Jersey Devils. With two assists in the Devils’ 6-4 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, Hall continued a point streak for the ages.

An injury absence sparks some semantic arguments about whether or not his streak should be considered 26 games (hence the use of “appearances,”), but either way, it’s remarkable work. Hall’s high-profile run brings to mind Corey Perry‘s 2010-11 Hart Trophy campaign. In case you’ve forgotten, the talented, pesky winger generated a ridiculous 19 goals and 30 points through the last 19 games of that season to win his only MVP.

You can make some great arguments for Hall that go far deeper than a point streak, but for some voters, it will be useful to have a big, shining example of his dominant play. There’s also no denying that he’s playing a huge role in the Devils’ increasingly likely push to a playoff spot.

In tonight’s case, Hall set the table with two primary assists. The first came on a Travis Zajac‘s power-play goal:

His second helper led to Patrick Maroon‘s first goal with the Devils:

Whether Hall wins the Hart or not, this should stand as a highly rewarding season for the winger. He looks primed to appear in the playoffs for the first time in his NHL career and is enjoying one of the best scoring streaks in years. Not bad for a guy who was once blamed for the Edmonton Oilers’ woes.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.